Neck Knife Length/Weight

Jedi Knife

May 6, 1999
I would like to hear from those who are experienced with neck knives: What overall length/weight do you consider "optimum" for a knife to be carried as a neck knife, for defensive fighting purposes? Of course I know a handgun/baton/shotgun etc. would be better, and all legal disclaimers apply to the question, so consider it to be simply academic. Thanks in advance!

I have recently heard of people carrying a Mad Dog ATAK in inverted neck carry, so I think it safe only to say that it is up to the individual. Physique is a determining factor too. If you have a promonent abdomen, the curvature of the earth, as it were, will result in a big knife printing quite noticeably.

Personally, I have worn a Benchmade Nimravus Cub with a 3.5" blade, and considered it almost too heavy. There is a lot of G-10 on the handle on that knife. My Darrel Ralph Arc Lite with a 3" blade and thin G-10 scales is very light and carries very nicely. I personally think I could carry a blade up to about eight or nine inches in OAL, as long as it was thin of handle and light of weight, but ideal for this kind of carry, which one presumes to be light duty, would be about 3.25 inch blade, with a cord wrap type handle. This would be thin, light, and fairly comfortable for moderately hard cutting.
I like my Mike Cooper neck knife. Actually, I've been wearing it so much over the past fes days that it feels weird when I don't have it on. The specs are here. I'm not sure about the weight, but it is really quite light.


I got a Camillus Talonite Mini Talon for neck wear and it is just about perfect! Blade length is a bit under 3" and the handle design fits my big mitts well for its small size. The Kydex sheath holds it with plenty of friction so as to prevent that embarassing clattering sound as your knife skitters across the floor. The Talonite blade will cut forever, and it's legendary corrosion resistence make a lot of sense in a knife carried against one's skin. I don't have an accurate scale but would guesstimate the weight to be around 2 ozs.

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I personally think weight is more important than size, although they are connected...

All day carry? Go light...You will notice a heavy knife at the end of the day...

Running Dog

Running Dog Knife Company
David, glad you are liking the Mini Talon! That knife was designed with neck carry in mind, I like handles on my knives, makes them more comfortable to use.
I am a big neck knife fan. But what is normally sold for a neck knife is usually more of a utility/bird and trout knife. For me, a neck knife has to be something that you forget you have hanging around your neck, not something that is big and heavy and beats you on the chest as it bounces around. That means the knife must be thin, light and not too long. I am convinced that 6.5" is about the max length. I once had a Kozuka that I got for a neck knife, but when you stick that big thing under your shirt, it looks like you have some kind of stomach tumor or something. Neck knives should be like the edge you want on your knives. Think "thin to win".

Danbo, soul brother of Rambo
I have three,a Running Dog traditonal tanto,a Hobbits Fang and a La Griffe.I'm really starting to like neck knives!Weight and length that feels comfortable will vary with each person.For me I can carry the first two all day every day,but at the end of the day I do notice it more.The La Griffe feels like its not there.For me the Running Dog with its 7 1/4 inch length is about the max.
If this will be the only knife you will carry then I would go large as possible,second or third knife then maybe lighten up with the La Griffe or one of Running Dogs small neck knives.
I'm a big fan of neck knives & have worn one daily for several years. FWIW, my specs for an ideal concealed carry NK w/sheath are: <= 7" OAL; <= 4 oz, the lighter the better; and, not much more than 1/4" thick, including scales. Note the emphasis here is on concealed carry. I can wear a NK with these specs under even a light t-shirt and have it be virtually undetectable.

Despite having many fancier ones, the one I keep coming back to for everyday carry is a plain skeleton handle Perrin La Griffe Fang. At 5" OAL, < 3 oz, and ~ 1/4" thick at the sheath, it truly disappears. When I'm going to be in a situation where I may be limited in what other pieces I can carry, I'll switch to my large La Griffe. It gives me a 3 1/2" cutting edge & still fits within my specs for concealed carry.

IMO, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better defensive knife than a La Griffe in this size category. They work well in both forward & reverse grips and, although the hole can slow transitions a bit, it makes it very difficult to disarm.

For utility purposes where concealment is not an issue, such as when camping or canoeing, I'll usually opt for a different blade shape with larger handle. Light weight is still important for comfortable all-day carry but size is not as limiting a factor. Two of my favorites in these situations are Dozier's Canoe model & RJ Martin's Handiman.

(formerly bcaffrey)
He who finishes with the most toys wins.
Personally, I don't like to have a neck knife with a blade over 2 3/4 inches. I usually carry one as an all out last resort for emergencies, and in such situation I want something extremely quick, short and powerful. For me, the lighter in weight the better, since its around my neck the lightest possible is most comfortable.

The Emerson LaGriffe has been a great little knife, going to try Benchmade's in the near future.

Dark Nemesis

Crimson Horizon
Nothing but edge baby...
Thank you all for your suggestions. It really is difficult to decide what size/weight I prefer when there are virtually no walk-in dealers around with an adequate selection to try out/on. I like the Mini-Talon a lot, but it's so expensive. I am thinking of starting with a REKAT fang, or something similar, then after I carry it for a while I would have a better idea of whether or not I want something larger/smaller or longer/shorter.

Jedi, personally I'd just give Mike a call. ATS-34 is so much better for a knife that will live in constant contact with your skin than 1095 (I believe - carbon steel, anyway). Pretty close on price, depending on where you bought the REKAT. NOthing against REKAT - I love my SIFU; I just have no idea what they were doing making a carbon steel neck knife.


I love my Gary Bradburn NK-2 Neck knife. The D2 blade is a little bit more than 3" long and OAL is 6" with the ironwood handle. The weight is round 2.5 oz and the thick about 0.5". Hope it helps.
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Jedi, personally I'd just give Mike a call.</font>

I'm not sure exactly who are referring to. I assume that Mike is a custom maker- if so, do you have a URL or phone number? If the prices are similar, he would be worth checking out.

I like to think that I have a good assortment of neck knives, but I find myself again and again coming back to the same two pieces; either my Lynn Griffith PATROLMAN, or my Cold Steel Tanto ParaEdge.

The PATROLMAN is a terrific knife, and I love it. It is just way too expensive. I guess I carry it often so that I can deduct every day I carry the thing from what I paid for it...almost there!!!

The ParaEdge is too small for self defense, but it has REPEATIDLY proven itself as a damn good utility piece. What's more, it is so small, that I can actually sleep comfortably with the thing around my neck while camping!!!

For defense purposes, I have and rek'mnd the Cold Steel small Colluden. Damn sharp, and it offers AMAZING penetration. Personally, I prefer a neck knife to be about as long as a dollar bill, but I heard from a LEO here that he carries a Livesay UJI FIGHTER around his neck...THIS MAKES FOR A BIG NECK KNIFE!

One more thing you may want to check

He has a great line of neck knives that are tough as nails...his BOW HUNTING BUDDY rocks!

Steve in NYC

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Jedi Knife, I believe e_utopia was referring to Mike Cooper. He makes a nice little necker. They are wharncliffe blade styles. I suppose he could make about any style you want. I have 2 of his neckers, one has the holes in the handle and a kydex sheath. The other one has no holes, and came with a leather belt sheath. Quality is first rate, and prices are way lower than what they should get one before his prices go up

Here is mine...specs are also listed:

You can contact Mike at....

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Personally I really enjoy wearing my Busse Basic#9 around my neck. :)

It is all the knife I ever need. It even makes you feel like Moses, it parts all the nonknifenuts ahead of you. Hehehehe :)

Darkjedi-"Busse Basic#9 is a tool from a more elegant time, not as crude as a blaster"

Even though I am larger than some (6'1", 250#), I usually prefer smaller knives. Especially in neck knives. I have a couple of Newts knives and a couple from Running Dog, all of them are great knives...but they are too large or too heavy. (Sorry Michael!)

The knife that comes closest to MY ideal is one from Kit Carson, the small F4. It's a bit smaller than I would like, but it is very thin and light and comes with a great sheath. I agree with e_utopia, NK should be stainless, I got my F4 in BG-42.

Anything more that a couple ounces will let you know at days end.


You may have one of our larger knives...Did you take a look at the Featherweight and the Featherweight Wharncliffe?

About 5-6 inches long and less than 3 oz with sheath and cordwrapped handle...I sometimes forget I'm wearing mine...

Running Dog

Running Dog Knife Company
Was thinking about this today. What about an endura or delica lighweight in a kydex sheath. They give you a total length of 7 and 9 inches respectively.

It hurts to be on the cutting edge.